ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has suspended a bilateral agreement with Greece allowing Athens to return migrants to Turkey, in retaliation for Greece’s failure to extradite eight Turkish officers who fled to Greece after Turkey’s failed 2016 military coup.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters Thursday that the readmission agreement with Greece had been halted, although a separate migrant deal reached with the European Union was still in place.
The decision came after Greek authorities earlier this week released the servicemen from custody and moved them to a secret location. The servicemen, who deny involvement in the coup, have requested asylum in Greece.
“What Greece did is unacceptable,” Cavusoglu said. “There is a migrant deal with the EU which is being implemented. We also have a bilateral readmission agreement with Greece. Now we have suspended this readmission deal.”
EU Fears Islamist Erdogan About to Restart Migrant Crisis, Drop Bid to Join Blochttps://t.co/2RWUg1PuoB
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He suggested Turkey would consider other measures against Greece saying: “We will continue our work concerning Greece.”
Greek courts have rejected Turkey’s extradition request on grounds that the officers may not be guaranteed a fair trial in Turkey.
Their case has added to tense relations between the two NATO allies, which have longstanding disputes over boundaries in the Aegean Sea.